In case you missed it, last weekend education technology enthusiast, Steve Hargadon, applied the long-tail framework to explain some of the key trends we are seeing in the edtech space right now in his post, A “Tail” of Two Edtech Agendas. I think this is a very helpful way to understand why certain startups are capturing much of the capital and media attention right now, even though they may not be poised to deliver the deeper disruption that many of us are hopeful for.
I cannot agree more with his point that we must shift our focus to solutions that target users (students, educators, parents) that make up the long tail. He describes “success in the tail is differentiation, diversity, and choice,” which I believe are the basis of personalized, self-paced learning that can (and in a few cases already are) revolutionizing teaching and learning.
He goes on to state “edtech reform in the head is about using money to scale simplified solutions of that which is popular, or the status quo. Ed tech reform in the tail is about using the network to provide freedom and choice” which captures an important aspect of scaling a truly differentiated and choice-based model, the network. In order to meet the needs of all types of learners, we must engage and build community with all types of educators, establishing a solid network to capture and deliver customized learning solutions.
If you’re interested in helping bridge the educator and edtech communities to start establishing this type of network right here in Silicon Valley, please join us for our first Teacher Tech Talk event, Friday March 23, 4-6pm at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park.